Tue | Feb 20, 2018

US temporarily suspends travel ban, Trump lashes judge over ruling

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2017 | 12:25 PM
A person walks outside the federal courthouse in Seattle carrying a sign that reads "I'm with Bob and Immigrants," in reference to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, on Friday, during a hearing in federal court.

President Donald Trump lashed out Saturday at "this so-called judge" who put a nationwide hold on his executive order denying entry to the US to refugees and to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The ruling set in motion another weekend of confusion and chaos around the country.

The White House pledged to swiftly appeal the federal judge's ruling late Friday, but that didn't appear to be enough for Trump, who vented his frustrations on Twitter.

"The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Trump said.

The government moved quickly to comply with the judge's order. The State Department reversed visa cancellations for foreigners, and the Homeland Security Department said it's no longer directing airlines to prevent affected visa-holders from boarding US-bound flights.

Up to 60,000 foreigners had their visas "provisionally revoked" to comply with Trump's order, which the president has said will keep Americans safe at home by keeping potential terrorists from entering the country.

Trump also said Saturday on Twitter that "when a country is no longer able to say who can and who cannot come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security - big trouble!"

US District Judge James Robart in Seattle ruled late Friday against government lawyers' claims that Washington state and Minnesota, which sued over the ban, lacked the legal grounds to challenge Trump's order. Robart said the states showed that their case was likely to succeed.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said late Friday that the Justice Department would appeal the "outrageous" order "at the earliest possible time.

Spicer quickly issued an amended statement that deleted "outrageous".

"The president's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," Spicer said, calling the order both lawful and appropriate.

Trump billed the action as necessary to stop "radical Islamic terrorists" from coming to the US.

The order included a 90-day ban on travel to the US by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen, a 120-day suspension of the US refugee program, and an indefinite bar against admitting Syrian refugees.